Back Kaman HOK-1, HUK-1, H-43A "Huskie"

Kaman HOK-1, HUK-1, H-43A "Huskie"

After demonstrating the ability/ design of the K-225 to the US Navy and Coast Guard (the Navy bought two and the Coast Guard one) and the benefit of the synchropter design, Kaman was awarded a contract in 1950 to design a completely new helicopter for the Navy. Designated the HOK-1 the helicopter was to be designed to strict military requirements. The initial contract was to produce four test aircraft to fill the US Marine Corps requirement for an Observation Helicopter. The first flight took place on 21 April 1953 and production continued until 1958.

P.Allen "The Helicopter", 1996

Rick Centore, e-mail, 09.10.2020reply

I went to VMO-6 at MCALF Camp Pendleton after "A" school in April, 1965. We still had 5 or 6 HOKs in the squadron. Within a month or so they were gone, replaced by the UH-1E. For the past 11 years I have been a restoration volunteer at the New England Air Museum. In late 2018, there being no USMC aircraft on display, I took on the job of crew chief on the restoration of HOK-1 129801. This had been a flight test aircraft and never went out to the fleet. The covid really slowed us down but we are plugging away at it. Check out our progress on the website. Semper Fi!

Mike Heideman, e-mail, 21.10.2020 Rick Centore

Hi, Rick, Will have to stop and see your project the next time out. In the meantime, I was wondering if you met a pilot by the name of Arlie Demien while at Pendleton? He may have already left as he first check-in at Pendleton in summer of 1964. Anyway, he related to me an incident where he had an engine failure one night while flying the HOK-1. Made a successful force landing.


Anonymous, 23.10.2020 Mike Heideman

By all means stop by Mike. We painted the fuselage last week. We'll have plenty of work for the winter months now. The name doesn't ring a bell. I'd like to talk to some HOK drivers. I'll have to post on the popasmoke website.


Les V. Taylor, e-mail, 21.07.2016reply

I was stationed at Marine Corps Air Facility late 1956 until Aug. 1958, in 3rd Marine Airwing- HMS-36. Was an administrative clerk, with our squadron office inside one of the 2 giant old blimp hangars, which then housed various helicopter's including several HOK'S. Sometimes on weekends, I would bum rides in an HOK in the little fold-down crew chief seat when the pilots got in their flight time. Those HOK's were marvelous to fly in! Great memories.

William joseph, e-mail, 18.07.2016reply

I was a metal smith on HOK and Cessna 350 at VMO 6 in 1962 then I think it was sometime in 1964 that we got our first Huie copters. What a change! Jet powered and a lot of promise It was first to be used as rescue and Mail drop missions. But that changed very quickly.

James Kaplan, e-mail, 26.02.2015reply

I was a Marine pilot flying the HOK in Okinawa in the mid 50's. Looking for an HOK to donate to the Palm Springs air museum. Are there any still available.

Al Paul, e-mail, 13.08.2014reply

The Corps had HOK's is test and development at HMX-1 in 1955

Bob Mulryan, e-mail, 04.08.2020 Al Paul

I was stationed at HMX-1 from October 1955 through July 1956. During that time I was training as a Helicopter Mechanic for HOK-1 helicopters.
I recollect that Kaman personnel were there participating with my training. I was assigned MOS 6481.

Subsequently, I was transferred to HMR-161 and in September 1957 I qualified as HOK-1 Crew Chief (YR-23).

Just adding to the history.


Len Larson, e-mail, 10.05.2013reply

I was in VMO6 and VMO2 camp pendleton and Futema in Okinawa 1960 to 1962..... best squadrons to be in and with the HUK's n HOK's had their very own ooomph ooomph's Same with OE 1's and OE 2's semper fi.... any from the sqaudron... please email me... L Larson Cpl

Len Larson, e-mail, 10.05.2013reply

I was in VMO6 and VMO2 camp pendleton and Futema in Okinawa 1960 to 1962..... best squadrons to be in and with the HUK's n HOK's had their very own ooomph ooomph's Same with OE 1's and OE 2's semper fi.... any from the sqaudron... please email me... L Larson Cpl

Leonard "Luke" Short, e-mail, 26.08.2010reply

I was the first pilot to transition from the HO5S-1 to the HOK at Camp Pendleton, CA in VMO-6. We too thought we had died and gone to heavan with this new and modern, powerful helicopter. The HO5 was so under powered and it was truly a joy to transition into the HOK. I spent many pleasant hours under the inter-smashing rotor system.

Larry Parker, e-mail, 14.10.2010reply

My first flying job was a H-43A on a fire contract, It was on and air force bombing range in north carolina. 1979-1980

Vince Curto, e-mail, 08.06.2013reply

I joined VMO-6 in Nov 1959. At that time we only had the OE-1's. The HOK'S were brought down from Santa Anna in 61. Not to sure of date. The first one brought down to demonstrate had an accident in front of the tower. Killed the crew chief. I was line chief at that time so was not to happy after that to get them into the squadren.I stayed with VMO-6 untill 64' then went over to VMO-2 at Futema .

Martin O'Donnell, e-mail, 30.05.2012reply

My first job after returning from Viet Nam in 1972 was working for Command Helicopters in Central Point Oregon. We had HUK /HOK helicopters used for various contracts through-out OR,WA,CA. I have a lot of memories about those times and feel lucky to have worked on and around those people and machines.

Rhys R. Talbot, e-mail, 21.08.2012reply

Was a crew chief on HOK's at VMO-6 & VMO-2 from 1961-63 at Campen, Fuetemna & sub unit 1 Atsugi.
Got a bit of flight time & loved how easy it was to fly.

Dale Merriss, e-mail, 29.01.2014reply

I flew HOKs from June 1960 to June 1963. Was in all three VOM Squadrons. Pendleton-VOM-6, Futema and Atsugi, VOM 1, New River VMO 2. One of the first to land OEs on a Carrie- Princeton and Boxer. I have many hours in the airfrake pictured above-WB-7

Norm Smith, e-mail, 17.03.2010reply

This must be a "Smith" convention - ha ha. I too am a retired Marine Corps pilot. I flew the HOK at MCAS Kaneohe in 56 /57 and at MCALF Camp Pendleton in VMO-6 in 61 /62. The HOK pictured above was at MCAS Tustin when the picture was taken, it is now at the museum at MCAS Mirimar. I actually flew this particular helicopter. I also flew the HTK for a civilian operator in 58 /59.

Al Smith, e-mail, 05.03.2010reply

I am an old Marine helocopter pilot and flew the HOK back in 63 /64. I was in VMO-1. I enjoyed the flying but we transitioned to HU1-E's and that was like going from a Modle A Ford to a Cadillac.

Carole Smith, e-mail, 08.01.2010reply

My father, Norman Peiffer, was one of Charlie Kaman's engineers to design parts that went into the HOK-1. The company was based near Windsor Locks, CT. We lived in PA, but in 1950 when work began on this aircraft my father, who was at the time an aeronautical engineer, was looking for more promising employment so we moved to CT. He took us to view the first flight of a later model. By 1959 we moved to AZ for my mother's health and dad worked for Airesearch designing valves and other components for NASA and the space program. But I am always looking for information about Kaman helicopters. They were tough little work-horses and have never received the recognition they deserved. Thanks for a place to air my views. Does anyone else out there have any more knowledge about them?

Doug Coleman, e-mail, 06.02.2007reply

I have a HUK Kaman. It needs restoring and I was thinking an april. I would like to see your HOK and take photo's of it if it is not too far away.Also I have a mold for the right bubble but not the left door bubble do you know where I could find one?

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